As the population ages and more baby boomers near retirement, the question of what to do about housing becomes an important one. Given the low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense for homeowners to evaluate their homes’ ability to adapt to whatever needs retirement may bring. According to NAEBA (National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.
“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due if you have a mortgage on the property.”
If you moved to a neighborhood that had a homeowner’s association would your maintenance fees go down? Since monthly HOA dues typically cover exterior maintenance you would no longer have to hire contractors to perform this service and could end up saving money. How would your taxes be impacted? Will your retirement income be able to cover your housing costs?
“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”
The equity you have amassed over the course of homeownership could be used to purchase your retirement home with little or no mortgage. The average US homeowner’s equity gained as much as $14,000 over the course of last year.
“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”
Not everyone likes the frequent maintenance that goes along with homeownership. Living in a neighborhood that has a HOA can alleviate this concern as you age.
“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access, and a security system can bring peace of mind.”
Although that is not a pleasant thought, having extra security features available in your home and neighborhood can alleviate any security concerns you may have.
“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”
Explore all your options when it comes to bringing your pet(s) with you to a new home. Will there be additional pet deposits required if you are renting an apartment or condo? How close is your favorite veterinarian? Are there places to walk or exercise your pet(s)? Is the backyard fenced in?
“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”
People are living longer, more active lives in retirement but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need to consider the accessibility of your home. If your hallways and doors aren’t wide enough to accommodate handrails and wheelchairs, you may need to look elsewhere for a home to retire in.
“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”
Do you live close to your family (kids, grandkids, etc.)? How long is the commute to your doctor or favorite restaurant? Would living closer to any of these make visits easier? The convenience of being close to people and places you enjoy is priceless and can save you time and money in the long run.
When it comes to the home you are going to retire in, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step towards guaranteeing your comfort. Contact a local Real Estate Professional if you find yourself curious about your options. They can assist you in evaluating your ability to sell your current home in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!
Until next time!